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Integrating Ethics and Decision Theory to Solve Environmental Problems


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  1. Integrating Ethics and Decision Theory to Solve Environmental Problems Results:(1) Intrinsic value is not the basis of an adequate environmental ethic; instrumental value is.(2) Attributions of “infinite” value to the environment are decision-theoretically implausible and infeasible.(3) Environmental problems requires a game-theoretic perspective, which conservationists have yet to integrate sufficiently in their decision making.(4) Despite the appropriate influence of ethics on environmental science, there remains a clear distinction between objective facts and ethical values. • Problem: Although they remain largely (and untenably) isolated from one another, environmental ethics requires decision theory in order to be applicable to realistic cases, and adequate application of decision theory to environmental problems needs environmental ethics. • Project: Explore the interrelationships between the two areas of inquiry, particularly the possibility of synthesis. Publications: Justus, J; Colyvan, M.; Regan, H.; and Maguire, L. (2009), “Buying into Conservation: Intrinsic versus Instrumental Value.” Trends in Ecology and Evolution 24 (2009): 187–191. Justus, J.; Colyvan, M.; Regan, H.; Maguire, L. “Response to Sagoff.” Trends in Ecology and Evolution24 (2009): 644. Colyvan, M.; Justus, J.; Regan, H. “The Natural Environment is Valuable but Not Infinitely Valuable.” Conservation Letters (forthcoming). Colyvan, M.; Justus, J.; Regan, H. “The Conservation Game.” Biological Conservation. (in review). Justus, J. “The Status of the Fact-Value Distinction in the Teleological Sciences.” (in preparation) Justus, J. “Inferential Robustness in Environmental Modeling and Decision-Making.” (in preparation) James “Jack” Justus, Assistant Professor, Philosophy Department <jjustus@fsu.edu>.